29.09.2011 - 09.02.2011
galeria Art Stations
Mirosław Bałka, Michał Budny, Krystian TRUTH Czaplicki, Donald Judd, Jarosław Fliciński, Agnieszka Kalinowska, Koji Kamoji, Edward Krasiński, Marzena Nowak, Roman Opałka, Katarzyna Przezwańska, Mikołaj Smoczyński, Monika Sosnowska, Henryk Stażewski, Małgorzata Szymankiewicz
The title of the exhibition, “New Order”, is a double-coded term. For one thing, it refers to the new ordering of works from the extensive collection of Grażyna Kulczyk, unarguably the greatest private collector of contemporary art in Poland. Selected elements of the collection have been shown to the public in diverse configurations. This time, as well, only a small part of the holdings will be displayed, i.e. works of minimal art and geometric abstraction. This particular selection brings us to the other meaning of the title: “New Order” is a story about art that radically pursued order, that wished to impose it on reality, or sought it there.
The show kicks off with classical works by Donald Judd. Among the most precious items in the collection, never displayed to date, they provide both a starting and a reference point for an exhibition that shows how the tradition of minimal art and geometric abstraction have been referenced and “transformed” in Polish art over the past five decades, right up to the present day. The exhibit is a series of confrontations of classics from the Grażyna Kulczyk Collection (Henryk Stażewski, Roman Opałka, Mikołaj Smoczyński, Mirosław Bałka) with the proposals of the younger generation (e.g. Michał Budny, Agnieszka Kalinowska, Jarosław Fliciński, Katarzyna Przezwańska, Marzena Nowak, Małgorzata Szymankiewicz, Krystian TRUTH Czaplicki).
What is the outcome of these confrontations? What results from them? In brief: young artists reverse the perspective from which we approach minimal art and abstraction. They do not create abstract sets of forms and hues, but rather identify them in reality and transpose them into the realm of art. In this respect, the juxtaposing of Judd and Michał Budny may be the most striking. One of the most recent works by the young Warsaw-based artist is a set of slightly crooked planks installed on a wall, one above the other at regular intervals, imitating a cheap bookcase. While Judd is referred to and reinterpreted, Budny’s approach to minimal art is more elusive and poetic than its canonical American version.
There are more such contrasts in the show. By far the most iconoclastic will be the compari-son of paintings by Poland’s most eminent abstract painter Henryk Stażewski with works by Jarosław Fliciński and Marzena Nowak. Stażewski’s works remain austere and stripped of any narrative. The younger generation applies a subversive approach to this legacy: Fliciński transposes patterns he finds on tourist blankets onto large-sized canvases, while Nowak ar-ranges abstract installations out of hula hoops.
The fundamental subject of minimal art has always been the relation between the viewer and space, and the way in which a given work influences the perception of its immediate sur-roundings. Small wonder that in its successive re-interpretations, the language of minimal art began to be used by artists to tell stories about intimate spaces. A case in point in the Grażyna Kulczyk Collection is a sculpture by Mirosław Bałka, a narrative and minimal work related to the theme of the home, the place where one grows up. The same theme keeps re-curring in works by younger artists. Home and objects remembered from it inspire both Agni-eszka Kalinowska and Michał Budny.
Another theme is art as a temporary trace left by an artist within a specific space, a means for taking control of or even conquering it. In the Grażyna Kulczyk Collection, this kind of thinking is represented e.g. by the documentation of Mikołaj Smoczyński’s actions. In the younger generation, a similar strategy is continued by Jarosław Fliciński (his technique of working on walls is a direct reference to Smoczyński’s original painting projects) and TRUTH.
And so on, and so forth. The impact of minimal art and geometric abstraction on young Pol-ish art is substantial, yet this seems to be insufficiently recognised by critics. While the achievements of Budny, Nowak or Fliciński should quite naturally be interlinked, the artists’ works have never appeared next to one another within a single space. Likewise, rarely have they been confronted with the classics of the movement. The exhibition New Order will pro-vide an opportunity to make up with for the somewhat surprising arrears in this respect.